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Good morning!

This is the weekly DKos Asheville open thread series that randallt and I try to deliver every Saturday morning. We would like this series to reinvigorate us locally and regionally here on Daily Kos, building on the sense of community that's grown through our online engagement. DKos Asheville can give us all a better sense of connection, a better understanding of who these people are that we stand with, work with, and share with in the political process. We hope, through this community, that we can do a better job of leveraging our orange passion for progressive politics to help elect more and better Democrats.

Yesterday, BruinKid posted a diary letting us know about an incident he found on ThinkProgress where a committee chair in the North Carolina legislature passed a bill without actually counting the votes.  I followed the links to learn more about what happened.

Here is video of the "vote"; the clip is two minutes long.

The first part of the video is testimony from a hog farm operator who opposes the bill.  The NC Pork Council and NC Farm Bureau opposed the legislation since they support and profit from renewable energy.  Then the video shows the "vote".  It is a voice vote with no show of hands.  Listening to the video, it would appear that the "no" votes where louder than the "aye" votes; but the chair, Bill Rabon, simply states that the "aye"s have it and that the bill is passed; and then he quickly adjourns the meeting.

The bill would end North Carolina's renewable energy program.  The current law requires that 12.5 percent of energy provided by utilities be from renewable sources by 2021.  The new bill would cap the requirement at 3%, and would eliminate it in 2023.

ThinkProgress states that even utilities ...

... support the standard: Duke Energy has found that the clean energy promoted by the standard helps with peak load, is reliable, and makes a profit.
According to the Charlotte Observer, at least six Republicans voted with Democrats against the bill.  The Observer also had this to say about the bill ...
The bill, which is closely watched by 16 national and state conservative organizations, has become a measure of party discipline. The American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform and The Heartland Institute are among the organizations pushing to make North Carolina a testing ground for rolling back policies that favor renewable energy.
So a bill that would gut and eliminate current renewable energy standards, standards that are supported by utilities and farmers among many others, is passed by voice vote with no show of hands, when it is clear from all accounts that the vote, had it actually been counted, would have been very close.

Just another sign, in the long list of signs, of the damage that our legislature is doing to our state.  2014 is of course an off-year election when turnout is low.  But it does seem to me that the more information we can get out to our fellow citizens about this legislature, the more motivated they will be to show up and vote.  Picking up even a few seats will help; and perhaps focusing our efforts on the most winnable districts might be a good idea.  But in the face of what they are doing to our state, 2014 seems exceedingly important.

Enjoy your Saturday,


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